She entered Nazi-occupied France in the summer of 1943, seeking only a worthy death in the service of a noble cause. She did not expect that her quest for death would, in the end, teach her how to live.
Welcome Melanie! Thanks for stopping in and taking this time to let us find out a little about you. So, to get started, tell us about your current release.
Violet Shadows! I'm very excited about this one. Violet Shadows is a novella (146 pages) which follows the story of a young English woman working with the French Resistance during WWII. It can be treated as a sequel to my previous novel, Ashford, as the protagonist was a minor character in that story, or as a stand-alone. I love writing strong characters, and Violet is such an interesting character to me, because she's almost too strong at first. In Ashford, Anna is compassionate and sensitive and has to find the strength inside herself. In Violet Shadows that's flipped around, because Violet has cut herself off. In the beginning she doesn't trust anyone, she sees trust as weakness. She has to find her heart. It's also a story about fighting to maintain your individuality. The war made people choose sides, and sometimes the side you were on had nothing to do with who you really were.
What does your significant other and family think of your writing career?
I've been really lucky. My family has always been very supportive. I started sending submissions to publishing houses when I was 12. I was kind of obsessed. I think my parents realized then that I was hooked and there was no getting me out of it. I used to write my sister stories for her birthday, usually involving unicorns or pegasi. I have an aunt who is a professor of English Literature. Best.
. Lists. Ever. Now, my husband's great. He's a songwriter, so we both have a habit of carrying pens and paper with us everywhere, or waking up in the middle of the night to scrawl things down. We have an understanding. He's also the first person to see anything new I write. Reading
What books have most influenced your life?
So many. I'm a huge fan of the British classics, Shakespeare, Dickens, Eliot, the Brontes...but the author with the most influence over me has definitely been Elizabeth Goudge. She had such a gift for character, and her books are both unflinchingly honest and incredibly hopeful. They remind me of what I want to be, as a person and as a writer. For more recently published books, definitely Muriel Barbery's The Elegance of the Hedgehog. I love books where every character is relevant. It's not just about the young and the beautiful.
How do you develop your plots and your characters? Do you use any set formula?
I'm very anti-formula, at least in my own work. Every writer has a different system, and I'm sure formulas work very well for some people, but I find them limiting. I nearly always start with character...some intriguing trait or habit, or a random thought. Then everything else builds on that. I'm very haphazard. I don't outline, but I do take lots of notes.
What hobbies do you actively pursue?
I'm a perpetual ballet student. I started when I was four years old and became addicted. Now I take classes three days a week, and still perform with my local studio. I love the constant challenge, both physical and creative, and it provides the perfect balance with my writing. I also design and sew ballet costumes and random other items of clothing. I love to travel. I was treated for cancer when I was 16, so life still feels like a gift. I try to make the most of it.
Describe what it's like to be an author in three words.
Heaven and Hell.
What do you find most rewarding about writing?
Definitely that elusive moment when everything clicks. You start writing and suddenly you're in another world. Someone could break into your house and as long as they didn't touch your laptop you'd never know. It doesn't happen very often, but when it does...there's no other feeling like it. The five-star review euphoria comes close though.
One day in her childhood, Melanie Rose told herself a story about the apple she was eating. It was a planet, inhabited by one tiny man-like creature who kept having to move house as his various residences were devoured by a giant alien. It was a tragedy, of course, ending in the planet's destruction, but the author has been telling herself stories ever since.
Melanie Rose currently resides in
, with her husband, singer/songwriter Aaron Gabriel, their dog Leo, and a hedgehog named Ferdinand. She loves to dance and travel. Her debut novel, Ashford, was awarded the B.R.A.G. Medallion in 2012. Chewelah, Washington
Melanie Rose currently resides in
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